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Part of the series on:
The Dialogues of Plato
Early dialogues:
ApologyCharmidesCrito
EuthyphroFirst Alcibiades
Hippias MajorHippias Minor
IonLachesLysis
Transitional & middle dialogues:
CratylusEuthydemusGorgias
MenexenusMenoPhaedo
ProtagorasSymposium
Later middle dialogues:
The RepublicPhaedrus
ParmenidesTheaetetus
Late dialogues:
TimaeusCritias
The SophistThe Statesman
PhilebusLaws
Of doubtful authenticity:
ClitophonEpinomis
EpistlesHipparchus
MinosRival Lovers
Second AlcibiadesTheages

The First Alcibiades or Alcibiades I, a dialogue featuring Alcibiades in conversation with Socrates, is ascribed to Plato, although scholars are divided on the question of its authenticity. It was probably written within a century or two of Plato's other works.

In the First Alcibiades, Socrates declares his immense love for Alcibiades in a short preface, then continues, for the rest of the dialogue, conversing over the many vital reasons Alcibiades needs him. Though ultimately Socrates' attempts to woo Alcibiades away from politics and towards the philosophical life fail, by the end of Alcibiades I, the Athens youth is very much seduced by Socrates' reasoning. In antiquity Alcibiades I was regarded as the best text to introduce one to Platonic philosophy, which may perhaps be why it has (since antiquity) been included in the Platonic corpus.

Authenticity

The authenticity of the First Alcibiades was never doubted in antiquity. It was not until 1836 that the German scholar Friedrich Schleiermacher argued for its inauthenticity.[1] Subsequently the popularity of the dialogue declined. However, Stylometrcal research indicates the authenticity of the dialogue,[2] and some scholars, including Adam Greves of the University of London, have recently defended its authenticity.[3]


Dating

Traditionally, the First Alcibiades has been considered an early dialogue. However a later dating has also been defended, e.g. by Nicholas Denyer, who suggests that it was written in the 350's BC.[4]


References

  1. ^ Denyer (2001): 15.
  2. ^ Young (1998): 35-36.
  3. ^ Denyer (2001): 14-26.
  4. ^ Denyer (2001): 11 ff. Cf. 20-24

Bibliography

  • Denyer, Nicholas, "introduction", in Plato, Alcibiades, Nicholas Denyer (ed.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001): 1-26.
  • Foucault, Michel, The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1981–1982 (New York: Picador, 2005).
  • Young, Charles M., "Plato and Computer Dating", in Nicholas D. Smith (ed.), Plato: Critical Assessments volume 1: General Issues of Interpretation (London: Routledge, 1998): 29-49.

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